Volume 37 Issue # 1 Winter
Association of Late Deafened Adults
WINTER 2021 Newsletter
Volume 37 Issue 1
In His Own Words…
Hello Members and Happy 2021!
As we begin the new year, we are still in the midst of a pandemic. No one could have foreseen what 2020 would bring when the first case in the US was discovered a year ago. We have lost many friends and family to COVID-19 and even with a vaccine now slowly being disseminated, it will be quite a while until we return close to what we view as “normal.” I know we were disappointed when, for the first time in ALDA’s history, ALDAcon was postponed.
I know all of us truly hope and pray that we will get control of this virus. We also hope that we can meet again, whether virtually or in person, in the Fall for ALDAcon. The safety of all of our members is first and foremost so a decision on how we proceed with ALDAcon 2021 probably won’t be made for several months. Of course, we will keep you informed of our discussions and decisions.
At this writing, I am working on the agenda for the first ALDA Board meeting of 2021. I want to thank the Board members of 2020 for their service and commitment to ALDA. It is important to acknowledge the many volunteer hours required for ALDA to survive. I thank you for your service to the membership.
With the new board, hopefully, new ideas will come, and I am excited for what we hope to do together with the membership.
The new 2021 ALDA Board is:
Ken Arcia – President
Rick Brown – Past President
Carrie Levin – Vice President
Matt Ferrara – Treasurer
Tina Childress – Secretary
Laura Sinclair – Region 1 Director
Diane McDonagh – Region 2 Director
Larry Kavanaugh – Region 3 Director
David Baldridge – Region 4 Director
Last year, the creation of the Membership Committee and the Social Media Committee helped ALDA to grow. A huge thank you goes out to Cynthia Moynihan, Jim Laffer, and Wendy Ting for their help with those committees. I hope the growth trend continues this year. Look for our frequent posts on Facebook, Twitter, and possibly other new social media platforms! Looking back to when I was President in 2000, there was no Facebook or Twitter. I am excited about the possibilities of ALDA growth and outreach using social media platforms.
Of course, our other committees will also continue and if you would like to be involved as a volunteer for any of our committees, feel free to contact me. Maybe you are skilled at fundraising or can help with social media or maybe want to help with ALDAcon. There are many opportunities. There is also a great article related to volunteering on the website at https://alda.org/turn-compassion-into-action-volunteer-with-alda/
I strongly believe in teamwork and I look forward to working with the ALDA board “team” and what we can accomplish this year. My “door is always open” so feel free to send me a note if you have ideas or want to help ALDA. My email is email@example.com
Thank you and Happy 2021!
ALDA 2020 Board of Directors
Thank you for your support!
Contact us to get involved or share ideas: alda.org
President: Ken Arcia
Past President: Rick Brown
Vice President: Carrie Levin
Secretary: Tina Childress
Treasurer: Matt Ferrara
Region 1: Laura Sinclair
Region 2: Diane McDonagh
Region 3: Larry Kavanaugh
Region 4: David Baldridge
John Waldo, Esq
What the New Year and New Administration May Mean for People with Hearing Loss:
We often hear the phrase “elections have consequences,” and that’s certainly true for those of us with hearing loss. Our rights to fully participate in the world aren’t found in the Constitution. However, federal regulations and courts flesh out the objectives of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as well as the 2008 amendments.
We now know the lineup: Joe Biden is President, Merrick Garland will be Attorney General, the Democrats retain control of the House of Representatives and will have a functional majority in the Senate, although not enough to overcome a filibuster. There is a solid 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court, and many of the lower federal courts are becoming increasingly conservative as a result of President Trump’s appointments.
Here’s a brief look at what we might be able to expect from each of those offices:
The President – President Biden had a long and detailed platform on disability rights: https://joebiden.com/disabilities/. If carried out, a number of those provisions could have a positive effect for those of us with hearing loss. Among the items I have noticed are:
1. Naming a Director of Disability Policy would provide a point of contact for those of us with disability-related issues. I’m on the Board of the Disabilities Rights Bar Association (DRBA), which is a group of over 400 attorneys nationally dedicated to advancing the rights of people with disabilities. I hope that the DRBA will have substantial input in filling that role.
2. A pledge to aggressively recruit people with disabilities for a range of leadership positions, not just those positions directly related to disability programs.
3. Recognition that people with disabilities like hearing loss have particular needs and concerns in their interaction with law-enforcement, health-care professionals, and the educational system.
4. Emphasizing the inclusion of people with disabilities in emergency preparedness planning. For example, this might include text message notification systems for use during emergencies.
5. Using federal funding to increase accessibility on public transit. For the hearing loss community, this might include funding to install a visual notification system for upcoming stops and emergency announcements.
And one pinpoint issue we’ll all really appreciate – requiring captioning (and ASL picture-in-picture option) for all in-flight entertainment.
Regulatory Agencies – Along with designating Merrick Garland as Attorney General, Biden named a number of other people to occupy key positions in the Department of Justice (DOJ), including Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarike who have gotten outstanding reviews from attorneys I know who have worked in the DOJ.
The issue on the top of the regulators’ to-do pile is likely to be website accessibility. Prior to the 2016 election, DOJ had indicated it intended to issue regulations defining accessible websites, but in mid 2017, it abandoned that effort.
I suspect DOJ will quickly propose regulations that include a standard for website accessibility, probably a standard developed by a private group called the Web Access Consortium. I suspect the proposed standard will require captioning, at least of the oral content that the website owner prepares and possibly of some or all content prepared by others.
This whole question of website accessibility may be an area where compromise is possible. The business community makes valid arguments about the lack of specific standards, and about the fact that the standards are updated so frequently that businesses have a hard time keeping up, and as a result, can be subjected to repeated lawsuits. Also, websites are basically a way for a startup business to get off the ground, and there may be arguments both for a grace period and some sort of small-business exemption so that new businesses have a chance to get their financial feet under them before they need to address their websites. It’s possible that reasonable people on both sides – and there are some – could work together to develop joint recommendations, which is what eventually happened with movie captioning.
Congress – Sadly, disability rights have become another partisan issue in the last decade, with congressional Democrats supporting the disability community and Republicans supporting the business community. The bad news, from our point of view, is that this situation will likely rule out some of our “wishlist” items, like curbs on the ubiquitous arbitration clauses that require the purchasers of all manner of goods and services to give up their rights to go to court and instead resolve disputes through private (and often costly) proceedings.
The good news, conversely, is that really bad things likely can be prevented. Legislation passed the House of Representatives in 2018 that would have required anyone claiming an ADA violation to give advance notice to the business and give the business an opportunity to fix things before a lawsuit could be filed. While that sounds reasonable in theory, it would remove any incentive businesses may have to comply voluntarily – they could just wait until they got a letter. Staunch opposition from the disability rights community and the Senate Democrats scotched that measure, but a renewed threat is not out of the question.
The Courts – Despite a much more conservative judiciary overall, we’re still seeing some good decisions and, so far, no decisions that are real setbacks for people with disabilities. I would expect that to continue, although the DRBA in general will be very cautious about trying to push any case to the level of the Supreme Court.
All in all, I think the election has been a positive for the interests of people with disabilities. Our issues are likely to have an advocate within President Biden’s inner circle. The Department of Justice is likely to be a much more active partner in implementing the protections of the ADA. Congress may not help, but almost surely won’t hurt. And a friendly DOJ will be influential in a lot of courts.
Nurse On Call
Anne Marie Killilea,
MSN, RN, EdDc
Ask the Nurse — Developing Hope
By Anne Marie Killilea, MSN, RN, EdDc
The main theme of this ALDA newsletter was suggested to be ‘Hope.’ “Wow, this subject will be difficult to write on,” I moaned to myself. I thought and thought, deliberated, investigated, and I looked around me but did not see “Hope.. As a family, a community, a state, and a nation we have suffered much during the last 10 months and it is beginning to take a toll on us in many piercing ways fracturing our way of life and reducing our hope. Hope seems so distant and far away, certainly not within our grasp.
But, I am supposed to write about HOPE. Ok, where do I find it? How can I describe something I used to easily reach for that now is compromised and fragile? As the nurse in me dived deeper into writing, I felt compelled to find a definition of “Hope”. I searched through many journals and articles and found “Hope” to be the positive attitude that helps us reach for a life that is better. Ok. Makes sense. But why is Hope necessary? And how can we achieve it?
Hope enriches mental health. Hope creates that infinite and flexible road for our journey in life. It stimulates thought and creativity which forces the mind to say, “I can do this, I will find a way.” Hope gets us out of bed in the morning, helps us to make that cup of coffee, and empowers our choice in deciding whether to wear the same casual clothes again or to try a new combination of things to look different. Hope gives us purpose and the sense that if we are not happy with what we happened today, there is a chance that tomorrow things will be better.
I searched for ways on how to achieve hope. Through my reading I found that mindful thinking can help to generate hope. First, we should journal four things at the end of each day:
1. We should jot down at least one thing that made us happy or put a smile on our face.
2. We should write down at least three things we personally did to make ourselves happy.
3. We should note and see if we are being honest with ourselves…. Or are we just writing down fluff?
4. At the end of this daily journal we should combine the external thing that made us happy with the internal three things we did to make ourselves happy and consider how that can bring a sense of purpose, a sense of hope in our lives.
In the beginning, this type of daily journaling may not seem to matter, but in fact we are retraining our brains to think differently by finding things in our lives that give us a sense of pleasure, a sense of hope. When we actively work on looking for the good in our lives, we reinforce the positives and reduce the impact that the negatives may hold.
This year my son moved back home, and his two-year-old daughter would be with us half the time. At the time, she was underweight and obsessed about washing her hands. Being the nurse I am, I felt like I needed to find ways to help her onto a better path of growth and development. But how? I felt hopeless. We did not know each other very well, but I knew I wanted to reach her on her level.
I began journaling. In the beginning I would write: Today the sun was bright, and the air was crisp and cool; this is something outside myself that made me smile. Then, I would write: ate lunch with my granddaughter, put her food and water on the Mickey Mouse plate and cup, and tried not to get tense when she refused to eat. Oh! I was HONEST! Then I wrote that to find hope during this process, I had to find a way to reach her so that eating was not a chore, or something bad, but that it was fun. After a few weeks of journaling, I noticed I was not so tense when she ate. I started to put butter on everything (even bacon) because she liked butter. And, I would even put french fries in my nose. I would do anything to get a chuckle out of her to make her realize that eating was fun. This was my hope.
Things did not go well at first, and I wrote this down in my daily journal. But, through my writing I could see the slow progression of how teaching her to enjoy eating was working. I was reaching my goal of hope. Within four months, she started to change. Yes, she put butter on EVERYTHING! But, she ate it. She put french fries in her nose, and I copied her. I even taught her to lick her fingers instead of running to the bathroom and scrubbing her hands during her meal. She was outgrowing her clothes, socks and shoes, and the percentile of her weight dramatically increased. Now, she smiles more and curls up on my lap telling me, “Nana is so cozy!” I found hope through journaling and was able to help my granddaughter become the healthy little girl she is meant to be.
Hope gives us the path to a better future. To find hope, we must do something that helps to reduce the strength of our negative thoughts. It’s not easy, but it can be done. By writing a daily journal we can start to find the simple things in life that make us happy and also become aware of how we can actively do things to make ourselves happy.
During this time in all our lives, let’s try to focus on how we can find hope in our lives. We owe it to ourselves and to the children around us.
Please stay safe. You are all especially important to your ALDA family, too!
MATT’S MONEY MATTERS
By Matt Ferrara
Normally I would start off by saying that we had a highly successful ALDACon and that we made a fantastic profit. But, as you know the Niagara Falls ‘Con was postponed until this October 2021. Hopefully, we can have our usual fantastic ‘Con.
This report reflects the Fiscal Year End (Dec 31, 2020). Most of the members who registered for the ‘Con last Winter stayed on. Our total fund in the bank accounts increased by almost $29,000 during this past fiscal year. This was due to the posting of the Kansas City ALDACon 2019 profit, generous donations and continuing membership renewals. Also, a decrease in expense spending for meetings and travel due to the ALDACon 2020 postponement.
The Balance Sheet for the ALDA bank accounts as of the end of the Fiscal year, December 31, 2020, is as follows:
ALDA Operating Expenses: $75,596
ALDAcon 2021 Account $11,304
ALDAcon 2022 Account – $2758
ALDAcon 2023 Account – $680
Scholarship Funds: $28,828
As of December 31, 2020, the total cash in the ALDA Bank accounts is $112,290.
The IRS 990 Report for 2019, IRS 1099 and 1098 forms and the State of Illinois Secretary Forms for 2020 were completed and filed on time.
Please consider volunteering to help ALDA and me with the Finance Committee. If you are interested in serving on the Finance Committee or have any suggestions for fundraising campaigns, please contact me at Treasurer@ALDA.org.
As a reminder, ALDA, Inc. is a non-profit corporation and any donations may be tax deductible. Also, some employers do have matching donations plans. If you have any questions regarding donations, please contact me at Treasurer@ALDA.org.
Membership Committee Status
Wendy Ting, Chair Membership Committee
The ALDA Membership Committee (MC) was newly created in early 2020. The primary goals are to create and streamline the structure of our ALDA organization where membership is intricately affected, and to improve the communication channels. This includes the review and refinement of on-time sensitive issues with the membership database management, which involves the Board members and Regional Directors (RDs), both inward and outward. MC expects the Regional Directors (RDs) to be actively engaged in communications. Not only communicating among RDs themselves to come up with agreed-on resolutions that will eventually impact the identified issues, but also communicating with you!
In this endeavor, the Membership Committee continues to work to improve many aspects of our membership communication and outreach. This entails addressing the membership outreach, renewals, and ways for members to remain connected with ALDA via RDs and our Chapter and Group Leaders. Under the new MC, all these are coming into place! Great progress has been made so far regarding the steps to efficient communication. This includes sending out thank-you notes to new and renewed members, and reconnecting with lapsed members. Thus, our membership is currently on the upswing!
Pending the forward-looking Board, the updates and/or development of the existing bylaws, policies, and procedures where the new MC is concerned should be considered in order for the MC to move forward. In the coming months, along with the new Board, the MC anticipates the overall membership process to improve seamlessly. The MC will work with the Board, Social Media Committee (SMC), Regional Directors, and all our members to remain actively engaged with all our ALDA members and maintain our ongoing membership growth!
Among the things to discuss with the Board for consideration is the dual/combo membership (a combination of National & local chapter memberships) dues. The MC received recent inquiries from other existing chapters on the possibility of having dual/combo membership set up for their local chapters as well as setting up the information electronically on their local websites. This discussion is still ongoing, pending the new Board’s approval. So, look to your RDs and/or local chapter(s)/group(s) leaders for any updates.
The MC wants to thank those who have offered assistance as volunteers and remains grateful for those who are willing to connect and offer their time. We look forward to the continued growth of this amazing committee!
In addition to calling for additional volunteers for MC, if you have any comments or suggestions how RD can improve communications with you, please send comments/questions directly at [firstname.lastname@example.org] and to your RD.
The current Regional Directors’ information and their areas of coverage are as follows:
ALDA REGION I (Regional Director: Laura Sinclair)
Connecticut, Washington DC, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Virginia, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, United Kingdom, Finland, Norway, Netherlands, Europe, Middle East.
ALDA REGION II (Regional Director: Diane McDonagh)
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, Manitoba, Ontario.
ALDA REGION III (Regional Director: Larry Kavanaugh)
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central America, Africa, South America.
ALDA REGION IV (Regional Director: David Baldridge)
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon Territories, Japan, Pacific Islands, Asia, Australia, New Zealand.
Social Media Committee Quarterly Summary for Winter Newsletter 2021
By Jim Laffer Social Media Chair
The ALDA Social Media Committee (SMC) had some excellent success over the last quarter. There have been major advances made across both Facebook and Twitter in terms of followers and interactions. This is largely due to the presence of a strong new volunteer Corin Goodwin, who has significant experience in non-profit communications, social media, and fundraising. Corin has greatly improved our social media footprint and interactions with other organizations.
The biggest initiative of the last quarter is that we were able to successfully apply for the right to raise donations through Facebook. This may have a big impact on our ability to raise funds and to spread the word as members will be able to run fundraisers for their birthdays or other events if they so choose. In turn, that will help spread the word about ALDA.
In the past few months there has been a push to keep members informed about the status of free Zoom captions. Our work was picked up by several other organizations and promoted widely. Zoom is not saying much in regard to the future of adding free transcription (as they refer to it) to their platform at present, but we will continue to keep members informed with the latest developments.
We continue to make changes to email campaigns to improve donations and keep members informed of their lapsing memberships. In addition, ALDA promoted the movie Sound of Metal in partnership with the production company for a free screening for members, announced the online business meeting, promoted Giving Tuesday and announced the Holiday Rate special for the upcoming ALDAcon.
In the coming months we will be undertaking some changes to the website to improve clarity and remove some redundancy. We are hoping for a cleaner, more modern feel that will be easier to find information and not be as cluttered. Look for more information in the soon.
We welcome any and all feedback. Please send comments or questions to me directly at email@example.com. My door is always open.
Meandering through a Hearing World
New Year – New Hearing Hope
By Linda Bilodeau
For me, January has always been about new beginnings. Though I was sad to put aside the merriment of the December holidays, I saw hope for the end of a pandemic as fireworks streaked across the night sky. And as the ball dropped in Times Square, I thought perhaps we’d see a rollout of new hearing technologies and research.
Let us dub 2021 as our hearing year, a time to make discoveries about how we might help ourselves improve our hearing. I plan to look over hearing loss websites in an effort to discover new ways to treat hearing loss. When you can, regularly visit the websites of all of the major hearing aid and cochlear implant companies (Phonac, Oticon, Signia, Starkey, Lyric, Widex, and Resound, Med El, Advanced Bionics, and Cochlear) for new product and research information. There were many new devices introduced in 2020, more powerful and smaller hearing aids, some fitting entirely in the ear canal. Many hearing aid manufacturers rolled out devices with artificial intelligence, thus allowing better control over connectivity and background noise. May 2021 bring a wider variety of peripheral devices to help us hear when there is background noise and in groups. Certainly, better Bluetooth connectivity would benefit us. We would like the ability to connect our aids and implants to more than one device. In 2021, we’ll look for more hearing aids with built-in tinnitus treatment options. Many already exist. We’ll hope for more affordable aids and implants as well as over-the-counter hearing solutions.
During 2020, there was an increase in bimodal cochlear implant systems. Bimodal systems allow the wearer to hear seamlessly through an aid and implant at the same time. As with aids, we hope to see better connectivity with implants to smart phones, pads, and hearing loops. There is ongoing research and clinical trials with totally-implantable cochlear implant systems. Perhaps this year, some of those might be FDA approved.
During the coming year, there will be more research on hearing loss drugs. Already, there are clinical trials of drugs to cure tinnitus and to help those with sensorineural hearing loss hear better in noisy conditions. These studies are worth looking into, and some can be found on the pages of ALDA and other hearing loss websites. My favorite hearing loss websites are Healthy Hearing, Hearing Health Foundation, and America Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
I’ll continue to participate in hearing loss Zoom sessions put on by ALDA and various other hearing loss organizations, locally and nationally. Last year, I learned more about tinnitus treatment, how to better communicate while wearing masks, how to learn to listen to music, and how to better use peripheral devices and hearing apps.
I’ve always believed that those of us living with hearing loss need to take responsibility for improving our hearing. Use 2021 to learn more about technology and options that will help you stay connected and make your meanderings through the hearing world more enjoyable.
CHAPTER and GROUP Happenings
Thanks to our ALDA Chapter and Groups we are reaching more individuals dealing with hearing loss and late-deafness. Support your local Chapter or Group or start your own today!
Per the new submission guidelines provided, ALDA chapter and groups can now submit their reports directly to ALDA News Submissions firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please advise if your chapter/group are using other outlets to share your news and events.
ALDAgram Happenings: January 2021
by Dianna Landers and Linda Marple
New exciting things are happening with ALDA Boston! We are working on updating the website, and it will include a new online payment option! Starting next month we will offer the two options to renew membership: 1.) the traditional form/check OR 2.) online payment through the ALDA Boston website. Join us for support, education, and fun!
ALDA Boston Membership Renewal ~ It’s That Time of Year Again. The ALDA Boston website will soon offer a link to renew your membership online, along with notices of events, meetings, resources and our monthly ALDAgram. Please also note that ALDA Boston has a Facebook page. Check them out!\
We had a great turnout of 16 people at the Museum of Fine Art tour (virtual) on Monet. It was a very informative and beautiful presentation. The subject of our February tour will be available soon. Stay tuned!! These will be offered every other month during the winter/spring of 2021.
Our 1st virtual meeting for 2021 is with Mass Eye and Ear with the topic being: Savvy consumers learn about updated technology to shop for hearing aids and new pricing structures. It will be presented by Anna Cosgrove, Audiologist at MEEI taking place on Saturday, January 23, 2021at 2:00PM.
ALDA Boston has started a new BOOK CLUB! We are calling all book fans! We will be reading INTERFERENCE By Brad Parks, Published by Thomas Mercer to be discussed in March 2021 Virtual Mtg (date to be set) **more details to follow**
In other news of note, there is an EXCITING new hearing loss website from one of our very own ALDA Boston members! It is called Gathering Sound. Andrea’s words: “I started Gathering Sound to educate and support people with hearing loss. My motivation comes from my own triumphs over hearing loss. I’m grateful for the opportunity to turn my struggle into something helpful for others. Check it out! https://gatheringsound.com/.
Our current movie interest is Sound of Metal. It has sparked some really interesting conversations among the hearing loss community. This is a brief summary: “A heavy-metal drummer’s life is thrown into freefall when he begins to lose his hearing.” I highly recommend you watch the trailer prior to viewing. It can be emotionally intense for some people. If anyone is interested, we can set up a virtual movie discussion night. Please feel free to email Linda Marple at email@example.com if you are interested.
Need A Free Bed Shaker Alarm?
The Boston Fire Department has recently been awarded a grant from FEMA to install bed shaker alarms for residents that are deaf or hard of hearing that may be at risk of not hearing a smoke detector at night. There is no cost to the resident. For residents outside of Boston The American Red Cross has a similar program. and can be reached at 800-746-3511 or by visiting Home Fire Campaign | Massachusetts Region | American Red Cross Boston residents can request a free installation by calling the Boston Fire Education Unit at 617-343-3337.
One of Us
This issue’s interview is Carrie Levin
This issue’s interview is with Carrie Levin, our esteemed newly elected Vice President. I met Carrie briefly while working at an ALDAcon registration desk, but never had the pleasure of her company long enough for a good conversation. Carrie is originally from Long Island, New York, but grew up in the Champaign-Urbana, Illinois area. Carrie mentioned that she can get away with her deaf accent by telling others she’s from “Lawng-Geyeland, Gnew Yawk” unless there is an audie around. She currently lives in Sunnyvale, California, the heart of Silicon Valley. She’s been there for over 30 years now; tolerating the high cost of living in order to experience only two seasons and be surrounded by mountains, beaches, San Francisco, and wineries. Carrie claims she will remain a California girl for the rest of her life.
Carrie learned the cause of her life-long progressive hearing loss during her CI evaluation. The surgeon pinpointed a birth defect called EVAS – Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome. Before this diagnosis, the causes ranged from unknown to a couple of theories that didn’t quite fit. The significant dip in hearing loss didn’t happen until after she had 2 kids. (She can blame them, right?) She learned that this is not uncommon for women with hearing loss in child-bearing years. Carrie has worn hearing aids since she was 5 years old, and has been a bilateral Cochlear Implant user for over 10 years. She is grateful for the amazing technology that her CIs have given her, as her hearing/speech is far better than ever before.
Carrie has been married for nearly 30 years to her husband, Richard. Their shared passion for love, adventures, and growth keep them sane. She swears her hubby and their 2 sons have selective hearing, even though their hearing is “normal.” Carrie worked as a packaging engineer for nearly 12 years at several high tech firms. She decided to leave the rat race to raise her kids and homeschool them. She is now basically retired, volunteers in the community at local food banks, schools, and a few HOH/late deafened organizations, and is active in environmental and political causes. Read on to find some insights about Carrie.
KK: What book or books do you recommend?
CL: Anything by Malcolm Gladwell for his in-depth knowledge and research in unusual topics (for example, why people are successful or not, the success of Ragu spaghetti sauce, how little things can make a big difference). Anything by Dan Brown for a dose of suspense mixed with art history.
KK: You simply cannot live without…
CL: Fresh coffee every morning; fine wine and good aged cheese to polish the day.
KK; Your little known talent is:
CL: Lifelong passion in athletics. I started as a competitive swimmer and modern dancer in my youth, was a jogger and ultimate frisbee player in college, and graduated into flying trapeze and other fun circus stuff with the kids until rock climbing took over.
KK: Hardest thing you’ve done is:
CL: Raising our 2 very active sons, and the most rewarding too
KK: Your funniest hearing loss moment is:
CL: Ah – too many to pick from…..Shortly after getting my 1st CI, I was taking my hearing guide dog for a walk in an industrial neighborhood. As I approached a corner, a homeless man was approaching the same corner. When he saw my dog relieve himself, he started yelling at me, declaring that it was HIS corner and to get out. I quickly veered away from HIS corner and headed down the street. As I kept walking with my back facing him, I was quite surprised that I could actually understand every profane word he shouted at me. I was so amused at the absurdity of the situation, telling myself – yeah I understood that word, this word and oh that word too! Yay, my CI really works!
KK: When and how did you learn about ALDA?
CL: I learned about ALDA from my one and only dear mentor, the late Edna Shipley Conner. She was gently tugging at my sleeve to get me to join when I was so busy raising two very active boys. I think I officially joined ALDA East Bay sometime in the late 1990s.
KK: Do you belong to an ALDA chapter or group?
CL: I joined ALDA San Jose back in 2006 when it just became a new group and was president in 2007-2008. I have been an active member since. I’ve also been organizing online gatherings every month using the free platform Google Meet that comes with automatic speech recognition (ASR) captioning.
KK: Have you ever attended an ALDAcon? (If so, which ALDAcon was your first conference?)
CL: My first ALDAcon was in Salt Lake City back in 2005, and I had a lot of fun! I attended six more ALDAcons throughout the years. Our kids’ busy international sports schedule conflicted with many of the ALDAcons so I was sad to miss some of them. Now that I’m a part-time empty nester, I am hoping we can reunite in person at the “2020-ONE” in Niagara Falls.
KK: In what ways has ALDA enhanced your life?
CL: -Forging long term friendships
-Sense of belonging to a like-minded community
-Inspired to make a difference
-Because ALDA knows how to have fun!
KK: Who or what inspires you the most?
CL: My family for their loving support, and my friends for their creative energy and sense of adventure. I am inspired by people who are willing to be open to opportunities and change, inspire others, respect this planet, and treasure humanity.
KK: People would be surprised to learn:
CL: That in 1981, I hitchhiked all over Northern Ireland – including missing a close encounter with a London IRA bombing attack – to learn about the people and their history.
KK: Your biggest pet peeve is:
CL: When people send me group text messages.
KK: Your favorite childhood memory is:
CL: Playing in the woods in the backyard where I lived on Long Island. I was climbing trees, crawling through bush, making angels on the leaf strewn ground, and gazing up through the arching branches into the sky and beyond. Never mind the bugs and sticks that had to be removed from my tousled hair!
KK: Your favorite saying is:
CL: The Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
KK: The bottom line is:
CL: This too shall pass.